Filthy India Photos, Chinese Netizen Reactions

Hindu devotees perform rituals on the occasion of Mahalaya, or an auspicious day to pay homage to their ancestors, along the waste floating on the banks of River Ganges in Calcutta, India, Sunday, Sept. 28, 2008. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)

Hindu devotees perform rituals on the occasion of Mahalaya, or an auspicious day to pay homage to their ancestors, along the waste floating on the banks of River Ganges in Calcutta, India, Sunday, Sept. 28, 2008. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)

Note from Fauna: The following post and collection of photographs spread on the Chinese internet in 2008.

On Tianya, Mop, LiuLiu (and many other Chinese forums):

Reflections in the midst of extreme poverty and filth — a record of a trip in India

India is the dirtiest country I have ever been to. I have heard people say that Pakistan, which is to the west and Bangladesh, to the east, are worse, but that is probably beyond the limits of my imagination.

In two months in India, I went from south to north, visiting some tourist towns that I had read about. I also went by train and bus to countless towns and open fields that weren’t so famous, and everywhere there were people had something in common — dirty, messy and stank. Interestingly, I also saw countless foreigners having a great time.

Feces all over the ground in India.
A holy ground covered with feces! Note: No toilet paper!

Tourists have been coming for years to the small town of Bodhgaya , the place where 2500 years ago Buddha achieved enlightenment, bringing their foreign money to the pockets of a few hotels and tourism operators, but still they live in abject poverty. The streets are lined with rubbish, wild animals squabble to find their breakfast in it. Look carefully and find wild pigs, dogs, mountain goats, and sometimes even cows, which are considered sacred, make an appearance. No wonder the locals don’t each much meat, these animals depend on trash to survive.

Cow dung is the most environmentally friendly fuel source

India is very dry, and vegetation scarce. Sometimes you’ll sweep your eyes over the horizon and only see a barren expanse. Rural villagers use firewood, but like using cow dung more. In cities and towns, sacred cows fill the streets, defecating wherever they please. Cow dung is the most eco-friendly kindling of all, and this means less trees need to be cut down. Moreover if the manure that is produced is not removed daily, a small town would probably quickly drown in it.

You often see see women collecting fresh manure, packing it together with hay using both hands, then carefully sticking it against a wall to dry. The manure largely contains grass that the sacred cows are unable to digest. For Indians, this kind of smell is natural, and tourists who have stayed awhile get used to it. In my two months in India, I learned to accept the piles of cow dung that fill the streets, and their all pervading odor. Compared with the smell of the dung of carnivores, the smell isn’t as strong. Indians have an undying reverence for their sacred cows, which makes me automatically think of people in the modern age and their frivolous materialism.

Puri is a tourist hot spot on the east coast, where heaven and hell come together. One side of town is the hotel area, with its picturesque beaches, the other side is a poor fishing village. The inhabitants’ straw huts are lonely islands in a sea of trash, and I got the feeling that it’s never taken away. The most shocking thing: every villager would defecate on the beach. It wasn’t only villagers who would take a crap on the beach, out in the suburbs you’d get used to seeing people doing it on the side of the road, and the Indian men would do it out in the open, never sneaking off to a secluded spot in the undergrowth. Everywhere from small towns to large cities would have men showing the special characteristics of their culture; even in the major city of Kolkata [Culcutta], on the most upmarket of streets, were white collar workers carrying briefcases walking past crowds of people urinating against walls.

One can’t criticise people for reliving themselves on the beach or in a field, after all this is what our ancestors had to do, all the Indians are doing is preserving a natural way of life that has continued for tens of thousands of years. This is one of the most natural parts of the way people there live, and it’s only we foreigners who make a fuss about it. It’s just that urinating on the street in a big city after all isn’t very decent, but I am sure that with the increasing pace of modernization, India’s cities will very quickly take on a new look. China’s toilet usage/habits have come a long way in the past ten years, so is there any reason that India, another ancient Eastern civilisation, can’t do the same?

I am filthy, but I am brilliant. In the ancient city of Varanasi [Benares], on the banks of the Ganges, all the sewage created by people relieving themselves on the ground in corners, and the rubbish, everything flows into that sacred river, the same water where pilgrims come from all over, brushing their teeth, washing their faces, bodies, and swimming. However, the dirty Ganges and Varanasi are India’s most beautiful place, lots of foreigners love it, staying for months at a time. I lived there for a while, living like a local, swimming in the river like one of them. The ancient town’s intense artistic spirit and religious fervour made me forget material poverty. This important part of the Indian psyche is passed down even today: the spirit is greater than physical riches.

India is indeed “dirty”, “messy” and “smelly” but I have gotten more out of it than any other place I have been. If this wasn’t the case in my two months I wouldn’t have met so many expats who return often, or never leave. As the Taiwanese dancer Lin Huaimin said, whenever he is stuck for artistic inspiration, he goes back to India.

Maybe only in the most disgusting of material surroundings, and the basest living conditions can we find the most profound spiritual enlightenment.

[Warning: This post contains graphic images.]

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[Note from Fauna: Not every copy of the post includes the same captions or all of the same pictures. We have translated from the Liu Liu version of the post, which appeared later than the Tianya and Mop copies. ]

Puri, where heaven and hell come together.

Puri, India.

Puri, India.

Animals in Puri, India.

Animals rummaging through trash and litter in Puri, India.

Indians on the side of a road in Puri, India.

Puri, India.

Garbage in Puri, India.

The banks of the Ganges River, and women laying out cow dung to dry.

Indian woman drying cow droppings on the bank of the Ganges River.

The famous ancient city of Varanasi. The Ganges is for both morning baths and cremations.

Varansi, India.

At the river side lighting the fire for cremation.

Smoke rising from a cremation.

Smoke rising from the side of the Ganges River in India.

A fire on the bank of the Ganges River.

Floating corpses, a common sight on the Ganges!

A floating corpse in the Ganges River.

Here come the remains of a sacred cow!

The corpse of a cow in the Ganges River.

A dead animal carcass in the water in India.

The famous morning bathing by the Ganges, washing as if the rotting corpse floating by was nothing!

Bathing by the Ganges, while a corpse floats by.

Bathing in the corpse-filled Ganges!

Bathing in the Ganges River, India.

Indian women bathing by the Ganges River.

Indians bathing by the Ganges River.

A floating corpse beside some boats in the Ganges River.

A skull in the Ganges River.

A rotting corpse by the Ganges River in India.

A corpse in the midst of the morning bathing at the Ganges, what do you think?

A bloated corpse floating in the Ganges.

Stray dogs picking at rotting corpses in India.

Stray dogs picking at rotting corpses in India.

A dead body floats in the river in India.

A bloated human corpse in the water.

A dead cow lies in the sand in India.

Bodies in the River Ganges.

Corpses…as if they were nothing…sigh!

A dead body floats in the river as Indians in a boat pass by.

An Indian child backflips into the river water.

The shore, covered with litter and garbage.

A rotting body on the banks of the Ganges River.

A decaying corpse in the Ganges River.

A body floating by a wharf. Gasp!

A body floating in the Ganges River.

A floating rotten corpse.

A rotting body floating in the river in India.

The floating corpse of a sacred cow!

A floating corpse of a cow in India.

An Indian man picks at the rotting remains of a person by the river.

The body of a cow or a sheep?

The floating body of a cow or sheep?

Ganges River scenery.

Goats eating garbage on the river Ganges.

Everywhere the floating corpses of sacred cows!

A dead cow's body submerged in the river water.

Natural clothes washing area + sun drying clothes area + cow and sheep bathing pool + excrement flowing and mixing together.

Indians doing their laundry.

Ganges River morning bathing, how can this water be used for brushing teeth?

Indian women bathing and praying in the Ganges River.

Bodies abandoned at the Ganges River.

Bodies receovered from the Ganges River.

A dead elderly man by the Ganges River.

The body of an elderly man beside the river Ganges.

A body being dragged by a boat.

India, a ship drags a dead human body in the river.

Note the lower right corner. What is it? Revealed in the next photo.

A body floats by the shore of the Ganges River.

Here comes the close-up!!!! Note the flies!!!!

A rotting corpse in the Indian river Ganges, covered with flies.

Washing after discarding a corpse.

An Indian washing his hands in a river filled with garbage.

An old man also comes to bathe.

An elderly Indian bathing by the side of the Ganges River.

Girls also come to bathe.

Young Indian women bathing by the Ganges River.

Those on the shore bathe, while in the water floats a stinking bloated corpse.

A man covered with soap prepares to bathe in the Ganges River.

Indians bathing by the side of the Ganges River.

A row boat rows by a bloated corpse floats in India.

A skeleton on the shore of the Ganges River.

A skeleton on the banks of the Ganges River.

A corpse floating in the Ganges River.

A rotting corpse in the Ganges River.

A rotting corpse in the Ganges River.

A rotting corpse in the Ganges River.

A rotting corpse in the Ganges River.

Let’s put the corpses-in-the-Ganges-River aside for a moment, and talk about Indians using the toilet. Have a look at the three pictures below…

These three toilet photographs represent three levels of toilets in India. Note what is common to all of them, which is that none of them have any toilet paper, but all of them have a bucket of water at arms length… yes, you’ve guessed correctly, Indians don’t use toilet paper when using the toilet, they use their hands. After defecating, you use your left hand finger to wipe the feces around your anus, and then use the water in the bucket to wash your hand. The custom is to use your left hand to wipe your butt, so when you go into a store to select food, you mustn’t use your left hand.

JY people believe, this is actually is a good habit. The first benefit is that cases of hemorrhoids are significantly lower; the second is that it can greatly save paper, good for protecting the earth’s resources and the development of green initiatives. So just by doing this, it saves a great amount of wood.

A squatting toilet in India.

A squatting toilet in India.

A squatting toilet in India.

I’m not sure if I should bring out this photo…a sick elderly person, lonely standing by the Ganges River. I don’t know if he is appreciating the true meaning of life or bemoaning the helplessness of human existence…that helpless expression…that remarkable face carved by the years…is unforgettable…

Don’t look if you won’t like it…you are responsible for yourself…

Diseased man with boils covering his body.

Sunset, rotting corpse, rowing and enjoying the beautiful scenery.

Sunset over the Ganges River, a corpse floats in the water.

Sunset, rotting corpse, a butt facing the sky.

Sunset over the Ganges River, a corpse's butt floats in the water.

A rotting corpse in the Ganges at dusk.

Dusk on the Ganges River, a corpse floats in the water.

A rotting corpse that looks like a frog.

A corpse in the River Ganges.

A person more frightening than the rotting corpses and old leper! Seems to be someone who carries dead bodies professionally.

A deformed man, probably with a skin tumor or disease.

The Ganges River filled with rotting floating corpses, and people rowing boats as if nothing were the matter.

Ganges River.

Not only do [they] wash and bathe in the Ganges River where rotting corpses float about, [they] also drink from it. My god, I can’t take it anymore!

Old man squats beside the Ganges River.

Man drinks from the Ganges River.

Rotting corpse on the shore.

The remains of a person on the beach.

Wild dogs freely tearing their food off a rotting corpse.

Stray or wild dogs eating a rotting human corpse.

Wild dogs tearing their food off the rotting corpse of a sacred cow.

Stray or wild dogs eating a rotting cow corpse.

A crow standing on a floating rotting corpse.

A crow perched atop a floating body in the Ganges River.

Corpses on the Ganges River, giving off an offensive rotting stench.

Another floating corpse in the river Ganges.

The skeletal remains of a person in the waters of the river Ganges.

Dog. Crows. Fighting for a child’s head as food. Dog victorious.

Dogs and crows fight over a human head.

Dog gnawing on human head.

Dog gnawing at a dead human head.

A roting corpse in the river Ganges.

Steps on the river shore with floating corpses. Can you tell how many rotting corpses are in the water?

Corpses and garbage in the Ganges River.

An old fish catcher on the shore of the Ganges River.

An Indian fishcatcher.

A floating corpse in Indian.

The tour guide said that this kind of fish in the Ganges is called “Gulang” fish, a very nice sounding name…and it is said the flavor is very good, but upon thinking of the corpses soaking in the water, the soap from the bathing, the garbage by the river…I don’t have the courage to try it, not sure if this kind of fish will have a human flesh flavor…

Fish curry.

This needs no introduction as many compatriots are able to eat it domestically [in China]…but a reminder, never eat an authentic one…because the chef uses his left hand to wipe his shit when using the toilet/restroom.

An Indian chef making bread.

Here, let’s let the JY people see India’s free medical care.

A public hospital in India.

A public hospital’s surgery room.

An Indian surgery room.

An Indian public hospital.

Ganges River in the early morning, bustling because of the crowds…some to wipe themselves down, some to get water, some to bathe.

Hindu devotees perform rituals on the occasion of Mahalaya, or an auspicious day to pay homage to their ancestors, along the waste floating on the banks of River Ganges in Calcutta, India, Sunday, Sept. 28, 2008. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)

Suddenly encountering some familiar faces, [I] was surprised…deeply admiring the guy who entered the water to his waist…BH [biao han, daring] to the extreme…but hope he is not our compatriot.

East Asian tourists at the river Ganges.

Flagrantly floating downstream not 500 meters at another set of steps [into the river] was a corpse. Even foreigners had taken out their cameras to snap photos. I wonder how that swimming guy just mentioned above felt…

A dead body floats by the steps on the Ganges River.

Two photographs after going ashore…

An elderly person doing morning exercises, technical difficulty rating 3.0, far higher than the Tai-chi exercises of old men and women in [China’s] parks.

A Sadhu or holy man performs yoga on the banks of river Ganges in the northern Indian city of Allahabad June 25, 2008. Sadhus are dedicated to achieving Nirvana (liberation) through meditation and prayers by giving up three Hindu goals of life: Kama (enjoyment), Artha (practical objectives) and Dharma (duty).    REUTERS/Jitendra Prakash (INDIA)

Accepting a holy water baptism…valiantly emerging from the water…[his] motions too fucking carefree…

A Sadhu, or Hindu holy man, emerges from a holy dip in the Ganges River in Allahabad, India, Thursday, July 10, 2008. Allahabad, on the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswathi rivers, is one of Hinduism's important centers. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

Not enough money to buy [enough] firewood, those two feed will not be able to burn away, so it looks like they can only be discarded into the Ganges River…the people baptizing [in the Ganges], will they be so daring as to find a foot…?

A pyre burns at a cremation ground on the banks of river Ganges in the northern Indian city of Varanasi December 15, 2007. Hindus believe that dying in Varanasi and having their remains scattered in the Ganges allows their soul to escape a cycle of death and rebirth, attaining "moksha" or salvation.  REUTERS/Arko Datta (INDIA)

Now let’s return to this post’s main topic…the rotting corpses in the Ganges River.

A rotten corpse in the Ganges River.

A frame grab taken September 30, 2007 and released October 1, 2007, shows the body of a dead Buddhist monk floating in Pazondaung River in Yangon. It is not known when the monk was killed. REUTERS/Democratic Voice of Burma (MYANMAR)

What are the dogs eating? Notice what is in the water on the left side of the image!

Wild dogs tearing at animal and human remains.

Swimming and bathing even with so many rotting corpses around.

An Indian swims in the river Ganges amongst the garbage and rotting corpses.

There are a small number of middle-aged men and women squatting on the steps brushing their teeth, none of them using toothbrushes, half of them using their fingers, the other half using twigs, swallowing the water after brushing, and then cupping and drinking down a few more gulps, which happens to be in the opposite direction of people in other countries brushing their teeth and then spitting the water out.

An Indian woman brushes her teeth with water from the Ganges River.

Comments from Tianya:

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白_马_非_马 (on Tianya) & 君子坦蛋蛋 (on LiuLiu):

I just want to say, there are a lot of places in China that are just the same. Don’t use the same air of superiority that Hong Kong and Taiwan people have when they look at mainlanders to look at India. I don’t like it.

英语绵绵 (on Tianya) & 七夜 (on LiuLiu):

All this is easy to fix, just use violence. China uses the hukou system to keep the poor population from settling in cities, and then uses chengguan to beat the rabble to death. The cities will then look very nice.

bjwh50: (responding to above comment)

Actually, this is exactly how America does it, using violence to beat the Indians [Native Americans] to death, pushing the Asian, African, and poor out into the country, running the poor white people into the surrounding outskirts of the cities. America’s police are even more terrible than China’s chengguan. If you’re within two meters of a police officer, you have to raise your hands, otherwise American police have the right to shoot you dead.

怎样走路 (on Tianya) & 绿毛怪 (on LiuLiu):

Taking a bath in this kind of river water…

And they say you will receive spiritual enlightenment…

Lou zhu might as well go try a septic tank, and see if you achieve even greater enlightenment, even greater consolation/comfort.

This kind of filthy country doesn’t think it is a shame but instead thinks it is glorious. Truly speechless.


That’s their place, they can do what they like, why discriminate?


How is India a democratic country? Would a democratic country divide society into four levels [castes]?


There’s truly something wrong with Indian people.


The Indians’ widespread use of cow dung, JY can say that this is their ancient wisdom, an understanding of eco-friendliness.

In the late 1970 when the West’s interest in China was kicking off, a French television channel did a show about China, and mentioned that the bicycle was the major mode of transport for two thirds of Beijingers. The host said these ancient people really understood how to live in harmony with nature, which is why they chose such a environmentally friendly way of getting around, and that it made them Europeans feel ashamed.


Wasn’t it said that they are thrown into the Ganges River after being cremated?

What do you do if you were swimming in the Ganges and accidentally ran into a corpse?


Kosuke Kindaichi said in a murder case, the hardest thing for a murderer to do is getting rid of the body.

Kosuke Kindaichi has obviously never been to India, because in India, getting rid of a body is too simple. Just buy some firewood and burn the body in broad daylight will do it. Murderers that are truly lazy murderers can just throw the corpse in a river and be done with it.

Comments from Mop:

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When Indians themselves see how dirty India is, how bodies float in the river, they don’t feel bad about it???


Although different people have their own customs, after seeing the photos above, I feel that these things that Indian people do can’t be called customs. It is simply uncivilized, inhumane! I really think that have not evolved fully! Savages!


Although India is poor
The people have a lot of money
In this year’s list of richest people
There are a lot of Indians.


This civilisation is too distinctive.


I still think a sky burial would be easier to accept!~~~~~~~~~~~~~


These aren’t pictures of Afghanistan or Iraq, right? TV can trick people.

Hell on earth.


You’ve successfully made me nauseous, this post has completely changed how I look at India~~~

Comments from LiuLiu:


India is a democratic country with down to earth people.

The many dead animals above would have long ago been taken away by unscrupulous peddlers to be sold as food in China.


My God! Bodies can be seen so easily in the river! The Lou zhu was even able to take photos! It’s hard to imagine how calmly the Indians face death!


Bodies floating in Chinese rivers aren’t unheard of (drowning victims, people who have fallen in, those who kill themselves, can be found anywhere). In recent years, changes have been widespread and only after they have finished will this situation change.

As for going swimming amongst dead bodies, people from different perspectives have different thinking, just like how the Chinese can’t understand how the Africans eat mice, and the Africans can’t see how the Chinese eat frogs.


India is so dry, you really think people want to live like that?

[You don’t think] they don’t want to live well? Don’t want to be like us and drink water from a faucet? To bathe in and drink clean water?

We can’t look at them in that way, they live like that because they have no other choice.


Have you been to India before?

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Written by maxiewawa

Native English speaker who'd like to make a living from translating some day. Until then continuing to teach English.

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